by Anna Vaninskaya:
Hard grows the leaf on marbled tree.
Still hangs the bird upon the air.
Smooth to the shrinking mortal touch
Seems the high rail of that broad stair.
Fretted and filigreed it curves,
Its carven beasts stare down amazed
As you climb up the tall, worn steps,
As you turn back – dizzied and dazed.
Above you spins the stony vault,
Below the stair is lost to sight.
No one is here to speak a word,
No one to make the burden light.
Only the unknown craftsman’s face
Dispersed through every leaf and flower
Of that accursèd balustrade
In this eternal marbled tower.